The vanity of arts and sciences by Henry Cornelius Agrippa, Knight ...

About this Item

Title
The vanity of arts and sciences by Henry Cornelius Agrippa, Knight ...
Author
Agrippa von Nettesheim, Heinrich Cornelius, 1486?-1535.
Publication
London :: Printed by J.C. for Samuel Speed ...,
1676.
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Subject terms
Agrippa von Nettesheim, Heinrich Cornelius, 1486?-1535.
Learning and scholarship -- Early works to 1800.
Scholasticism.
Science -- Early works to 1800.
Link to this Item
http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A26566.0001.001
Cite this Item
"The vanity of arts and sciences by Henry Cornelius Agrippa, Knight ..." In the digital collection Early English Books Online. https://name.umdl.umich.edu/A26566.0001.001. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed June 13, 2024.

Pages

Page 250

CHAP. LXXVIII.

More of Agriculture.

BUT let us return. Of the Exercises of Husban∣dry, Pasturage, Hunting, and Fowling, Hiero, Philometer, Attalus, and Archelaus, all Kings, have severally written. Zenophon and Mago great Captains have done the like, together with Oppian the Poet. And besides them, Cato, Varro, Pliny, Columella, Virgil, Crescentius, Palladius, and many others of later times. Cicero believ'd there was nothing better, nothing more gainful, nothing more delightful, nothing more wor∣thy the employment of a generous Spirit, than the occupations above mention'd. Not a few plac'd the chief Good and Supream Happiness in them: There∣fore Virgil calls Husbandmen Fortunate, Horace Blessed. The Oracle of Delphos also pronounc'd one Aglaus a most happy man, who having a little Farm in Arca∣dia, never stir'd out of it; His Content keeping him free from the Experience of Evil. But miserable men that they are; while they so highly honour Agriculture, little do they consider, that it was the Effect of Sin, and the Curse of the most High God. For chasing Adam out of Paradise, he sent him to till the Earth, saying, Cursed be the Earth for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou Eat of it all the days of thy Life. Thorns also and Thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return to the Earth, for out of it thou wast taken. Nor are there any persons that feel the sadness of this saying more than Husbandmen and Countrymen; who after they have Plough'd, Sow'd,

Page 251

Harrow'd, Weeded, Mowed, Reap'd, Graz'd, Shear'd, Hunted, Fish'd; here one looses his Father for Grief, to see his Labours all on a suddain come to nothing, and wasted with Hail and Tempests: Another Mans Sheep dye, another man's Oxen, or else they are dri∣ven away by the Souldiers: Beasts of Prey devour his Lambs, and destroy his Fish: the Wife laments at home, his Children cry, Famine follows; and after all, with uncertain hope of benefit, he is forc'd to return to his hard Labour. Before the Fall there was no need of Artificial Tillage, no want of Grazing, Hunting, or Fowling, for the Earth was to have produc'd all things of its own accord, always flourishing with all sorts of Fruits, fragrant Smells, constant Summer, and verdant Meadows. Nor had the Earth brought forth any thing noxious, no Herb endu'd with poysonous Qualities, no venomous Toads, Vipers, or other Reptiles. And Man himself being then Lord of the whole Cre∣ation, having had the least occasion for the wild Beasts, had found none such, but all naturally Tame: had he but beckned to the Beasts of Carriage, they had willingly submitted to his Burthens. Man then but new Born, had had the use and strength of all his Mem∣bers and Limbs; not wanting Garments to hide his Nakedness, Houses for Shelter, nor Sawces to provoke his Appetite; and had prolong'd his happy days without the help of Physick, all things offering themselves spon∣taneously to satisfie his desires.

The Earth had been his Food, his Garments Air, And for his Bed, the Fields their Flowr's prepare.
But the mischief of Sin, and the necessity of Death, rendred all things incommodious to us: for now the Earth produces nothing without our Labour and our Sweat but deadly and venomous, and as it were

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upbraiding us that we live; nor are the other Elements less kind to us: Many the Sea destroys with raging Tempests, and the horrid Monsters devour: the Air making War against us with Thunder, Lightning, and Storms; and with a crowd of Pestilential Diseases, the Heavens conspire our Ruine. Nor are the Creatures only our Enemies: For Man, as the Proverb hath it, is to himself a Wolf. We are encompassed with in∣numerable Temptations of Unclean Spirits, whereby to draw us into the Dark Receptacles of Pain and Pu∣nishment, there to be Tormented in Eternal Fire. By all which it appears, that Agriculture with all its ap∣purtenants of Fishing, Hunting, Fowling and Grazing, is a loss of the greatest happinesses, the invention of Mischief, and a trouble to Humane Life. Those Ex∣ercises appurtenant to Agriculture being only incom∣modious means to restore the Barrenness of the Earth, to supply the want of Food, and defend us from the Rigor of cold, which puts us in mind of Death. And yet this Calamity and necessity of ours might in some measure deserve commendation, could it have retain'd it self within moderate bounds, and not shewn us so many devices to make strange Plants, so many porten∣tous Graftings and Metamorphoses of Trees; How to make Horses Copulate with Asses, Wolves with Dogs, and so to engender many wondrous Monsters con∣trary to Nature: And those Creatures to whom Na∣ture has given leave to range the Air, the Seas and Earth so freely, to Captivate and Confine in Aviaries, Cages, Warrens, Parks and Fishponds, and to fat 'um in Coops, having first put out their Eyes, and maim'd their Limbs; had it not also taught us so many varieties of Weaving, Dying, and dressing of Linnen, Woollen, Skins and Silk, which Nature only design'd for plain and homely Cloathing, but invented for the increase of Pride and Luxury. Pliny complaining of these inconveniences,

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gives for instance the Seed of Hemp, which being but a little Seed, in a short time produces a large Sail, that by the help of the Wind carries a Ship all over the World, occasioning men, as if they had not Earth to perish in, to perish in the Sea likewise. I omit the many Laws, and Maxims, and Observations of Hus∣bandmen, Shepherds, Fishers, Hunters and Fowlers, so ridiculous, and not only foolish and ridiculous, but Superstitious, and Repugnant to the Law of God; How to prevent Storms, make their Seed Fruitful, kill Weeds, scare Wild Beasts, stop the flight of Beasts and Birds, the swimming of Fishes, to charm away all manner of Diseases; of all which those Wise Men be∣fore named have written very seriously, and with great cruelty.

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